July 21st, 2024

Avenue Living buys up more rental units in the Hat

By Collin Gallant on June 15, 2024.

The Parkland Townhomes complex in the Uplands area of Medicine Hat and another apartment building has been acquired by Avenue Living, the News has learned.--News Photo Collin Gallant

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Medicine Hat’s largest landlord is acquiring two more apartment complexes.

Avenue Living will assume ownership of Corbitt Arms and Parkland Townhome apartment blocks later this month, tenants of the MacLab Properties building were informed this week.

Calls to Edmonton-based MacLab Developments, the owner of Rent Midwest Property Management and the two local apartment blocks, as well as requests to Avenue Living, were not returned on Friday.

The Parkland Townhomes complex in the Uplands community consists of 16 buildings, each with about six units, though the total number of units is hard to determine.

The Corbitt Arms is located near Carry Drive on the top of Scholten Hill.

The two facilities would bring the number of apartment buildings owned by Avenue Living above 30 in Medicine Hat.

The real estate income trust says it owns more than 700 properties in North America, including residential rental, commercial and farmland.

Last year, the News spoke with several former and current Avenue tenants who said their monthly accommodation costs were set to rise $250 per month between rent increases and the deletion of power from “utilities included” packages.

The company told the News at that time that it was standardizing its practices across the company’s national holdings

It “continues to ensure that our rents are aligned with the market,” a spokesperson said. “Our focus is always on our residents and ensuring we deliver a balance of quality, value and affordability.”

The number of suites in the local Avenue Living portfolio is also hard to determine, but has continued to grow since arriving in Medicine Hat in 2014 with the purchase of 18 buildings.

In 2018 it acquired five more buildings, totalling 92 units, formally owned by Scherer Rentals.

Tight rental market

The most recent statistics from the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation say that Medicine Hat’s vacancy rate is as tight as it was during natural gas booms in the mid-2000s.

The vacancy rate in the city was 1.2 per cent in 2023, according to figures in the October Rental market overview published by CMHC. That is the most recent available set of statistics for the market.

The last time the vacancy rate was lower was 2006 at 1.1 per cent, when an average rent was considered to be $574 per month.

The 2023 average rent was considered to be $1,072 per month, including a combined 16.3 per cent increase over 2022 and 2023.

Over the same 18-year time span, the number of rental units in the city increased by 197 to 3,455, an increase of six per cent.

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